Six other politicians who have had their ways paved by TV actors
My first thought upon hearing this news was that Dennis Haysbert is obviously insane. Since I've been criticized in this space for not having an open mind about insane things, I decided to take Mr. Haysbert at his word. I then went even further and went to work putting together a list of other politicians who exist mainly due to the hard work done for them by TV actors. After researching Wikipedia for almost a full fifteen minutes, this is the list I've managed to put together...
1. Larry Dallas -- Bill Clinton. Prior to 1977, polite society required a man to be married and monogamous by at least his early thirties. America's love affair with affable next-door-neighbor Larry Dallas changed all that. Suddenly it became cool to spend the majority of one's time trying on medallions and trying to "make it" with stewardesses. Larry's effect on the American zeitgeist was felt long after Three's Company went off the air when a dashing Bill Clinton rode a wave of Larry Dallas love right into the White House.
2. Mr. Snuffalufagus -- Dick Cheney. At one point, it was considered appropriate for Vice Presidents to emerge from their private doomsday bunkers in order to make public appearances. Thanks to Big Bird's "imaginary" best friend, America became used to the idea of George Bush Jr.'s "imaginary" best friend, too.
3. Felicity -- Condoleezza Rice. Remember in the pilot episode of Felicity, when the superbly coiffed Keri Russell ditched med school to follow her heart's one true crush to New York City? People laughed at the time: only on overly romantic TV shows would a woman give up so much just for a chance at love. Then Condoleezza left Chevron for Dubya's cabinet and the rest is history.
4. Captain Planet -- Al Gore. When I was growing up "The Environment" was just a place where we stored used McDLT cartons. If a crazy-eyed hippie tried to talk to us about "saving mother earth", we beat him unconscious with an oil drum. Captain Planet came along and taught us that stiff, unentertaining animation could open our hearts and minds to the idea that the environment needs to be protected. Ten years later, Al Gore took stiff and unentertaining to new heights with his An Inconvenient Truth.
5. Barney -- Barney Frank. Once upon a time, it was unthinkable that an openly gay man could be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. One really big, really purple, really really gay dinosaur showed the world that leadership comes in all shapes, sizes and sexualities.
6. Henry Blake -- George W. Bush. It used to be that during times of war, a commander was expected to be a steely-eyed stoic, focused on the objective at hand with a laser-like intensity. The popularity of Henry Blake showed that America was ready for a different kind of wartime leader -- being affable and goofy was even more important to Americans than being capable and intelligent. In 2004, as the country slid ever deeper into an increasingly thickening Iraqi quagmire, America remembered the lessons it had learned during M*A*S*H*'s run and decided to re-elect the most affably goofy president this country has ever seen... George W. Bush!
(By the way, experience has taught me that yes, I do need to say it: the preceding has been satire. Any truth presented in the above comparisons will, hopefully, come coated in at least a modicum of laughter. Further, any resemblance to partisan politics is completely coincidental. Three Republicans and three Democrats were chosen so that this does not become a forum to comment on how conservative or liberal the poster may or may not be.
All that being said, come on and join the fun -- what other politicians have had their ways paved for them by TV actors?)